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Johannes "Peter" Mull
(1736 - June 10, 1814)

The following excerpts were taken from:
Mull, B. Rondal and Mull, Mable M. Mull: Mull Families of North Carolina: A History and Genealogy. Genealogy Publishing Service. 1997.

Phifer, Edward W. Jr. Burke: The History of a North Carolina County, Revised Edition. 1982. Hildebrand, Ollie Harrill. "Hildebrand and Allied Families: Abernathy, Abee, Brittain and Mull." Church Printing Company, Asheville, NC. 1962.

 

Johannes* Peter Mull was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1736 as the son of Christopher "Stuff'l/Stoffel" Moll** and Anna Catherina. His ancestors were of German descent, with their homeland most likely being the province of Palatinate in Germany. Arrival to America was prompted by several reasons, with an influx of migration beginning in the early 1700's (most likely when his father migrated). In just twenty eight years, beginning in 1727, three hundred and twenty four ships arrived in Philadelphia alone. Reasons for migration were: the war between France and Germany in which many found their homes and farms lying in the path of the warring armies; search for religious freedom; and the availability of land in America.  

 

Sheriff Peter's father, along with 57 male Palatines, left Germany and arrived in Philadelphia on September 10, 1731 on a ship named the "Pennsilvania" Merchant. His father decided to migrate to North Carolina sometime between 1750 and 1753, and settled the family on 640 acres on the South Fork of the Catawba River in Rowan County (what is now Catawba County). Peter's father died sometime after 1760 and Peter became the administrator of his father's estate.

 

Peter was thought to have had four or five siblings: Conrad Moll - most likely the oldest sibling, appeared on the "Pennsilvania" ships passenger list; records indicate he may have married Eliza Barbara Hill; Catherine Moll - born May 24, 1733; married Henry Weidner (reportedly the first white settler to occupy land west of the Catawba River) at the age of 16; came to NC in 1749 and settled on South Fork River; eight children; Abraham Moll - settled near Catherine Moll; married Mary Poff; he and his son were killed by Indians in 1752; John Sr. - born July 25, 1744; married Mary Ann Antoni (Anthony) on September 17, 1764; soldier in Revolutionary War; Margarite - possible fifth sibling.

 

In 1763, at the age of 27, Peter received a grant of 200 acres on property in Rowan, and therefore left Pennsylvania for North Carolina. The grants were located in Mecklenburg County, NC and his land joined his sister, Catherine and her husband, Henry Weidner's land. (His brother-in-law, Henry Weidner was the founder of the Pennsylvania German settlement on the South Fork Valley in North Carolina. Henry had married Catherine 'Katrina' Mull whose brother was of course Sheriff Peter Mull). (Hildebrand 134)

 

Five years later Peter received an additional grant from the British Crown of 424 acres. Peter settled on this property near Henry River and married his wife, Barbara (Carpenter?) around 1760.**** They built a home on a knoll overlooking a creek that ran into the Henry River, described by Victor Coulter in his book entitled, The Coulter Family of Catawba County. "Somewhat less than half a mile above the junction of Henry Fork and Jacob Fork to form the South Fork River, there flows into Henry Fork a small creek from a northeasterly direction. On Yoder's map of Catawba County, the creek was not named. Locally, it was called by the name of the owner of the mill on it, first Moll's Mill Creek, then Gross's and so on. The first road through this area as shown on the map made in the 1770's began at Ramsour's Mill on Clark's Creek, near the present town of Lincolnton, and followed a northerly course roughly parallel to the South Fork and Henry Fork Rivers, varying from a mile to two miles east of the Fork Rivers. The road was the main highway for the settlers who had been granted plantations which included the rich bottom land along the eastern side of these rivers. The road crossed the mill creek about one mile from Henry Fork River."

 

Along with the mill, records show that Peter was involved to some extent in the Revolutionary War. The Colonial Records of NC showed that he served on a "Committee of Safety" from Rowan County from 1774-1776. "A History of Catawba County," also lists Peter Moll as bearing arms during the Revolutionary War during the battle of Kings Mountain. The Patriots Index (DAR) states that a Peter Moll, born around 1735 served as Captain from North Carolina. A Peter Mull is also listed as a soldier that was detached from 1st Burke Regiment to form the 7th Regiment formed August 1814. A record of Peter Moll leading an expedition against the Cherokee Indians in 1776 is also on file, indicating that Peter was a Captain and was paid 378 pounds of supplies for his undertaking of this expedition.

 

In the late 1700's Peter began acquiring property in the present Catawba County and western Burke County. In the census of 1790 he was listed as a resident in Burke County, residing in the 13th militia district, and his family was the only Moll family living in Burke at the time. This census indicates that there were 3 white males over the age of 16, 1 white male under the age of 16, 3 females and one slave. At the time of the census, Peter would have been 54 years of age. His and Barbara's children included: 1. John Mull - born in 1760 in Rowan Co., NC; married his first cousin, Catherine Weidner In Rowan Co. around 1781; died October 12, 1812 in Lincoln County; 2. Henry Mull, Sr. - born in 1771 in Rowan Co., NC; first wife unknown; second wife Susannah born in PA around 1810; died 1850 in Burke Co., NC; 3. Peter Mull, Jr. - born in 1773 in Rowan Co., married Susannah Smith on June 21, 1798 in Rowan Co., died 1857 in Buncombe Co., NC; 4. Barbara Mull - born January 16, 1779 in NC; married Mark Brittain, (the sheriff of Burke county from 1815-1824), around 1797; died August 4, 1862 and buried at Mt. Home Baptist Church; 5. Jacob Mull - born 1783 in Burke Co., married first wife Geminia Brittain around 1805 and second wife, Mary VanHorn around 1825; died August 19, 1843 in Burke Co., NC; 6. Susannah Mull - born 1784 and married Phillip Pitts.

Note: There is a significant gap from the date of birth of his first child, John and second child, Henry. This may indicate that Peter Moll was married twice, with his first wife dying after John was born and a second marriage not being made until the late 1760's.

 

Sheriff Peter Moll is the head of most of the Mull families who now reside or have lived in Burke County for the past two hundred years. His son, John, married and resided in the Lincoln County-Catawba County section. The majority of his descendants remained in that area. His son, Peter Jr., moved farther west and his descendants settled in Buncombe, Haywood, Jackson, and Macon County, North Carolina. His son, Henry, went to Pennsylvania but returned to Burke Co., NC following Sheriff Peter Moll's death. Peter's youngest son, Jacob, remained in Burke County and his descendants (along with Henry Mull) make up the largest contingent of Burke County Mulls.

 

Peter Mull was involved in numerous land transactions, showing that he was not engaged as farming as a means of livelihood, as were most of his neighbors. During his lifetime he owned a Grist Mill, most likely made and sold whisky, was a soldier, a Captain in the Revolutionary War, bought and sold real estate, served Burke County as Justice of the Peace, and was High Sheriff of the county from 1790-1792.*** His success must have come at the price of hard work, as he was at a distinct disadvantage being that he his family had immigrated from Germany and likely did not speak, write or read the English language.

 

At the time of Sheriff Mull's death on June 10th, 1814 he had in his possession 1,560 acres of property in Burke County alone, and was also one of the largest slaveholder's in the county (Phifer 462). In addition to his wife Barbara, he left his estate to six heirs: Peter Mull, Jr., a son; Henry Mull, a son; Jacob Mull, a son; Mark Brittain, his daughter Barbara's husband and a Burke County Sheriff from 1815-1824; Phillip Pitts, his daughter Susannah's husband; and heirs at law of John Moll (deceased).

 

*Early German's used the name "Johannes" or "Johan" (John) to indicate that person was a descendant of someone named John. Many of the Molls/Mull's, such as Sheriff Peter have this name attached.

 

**The Mull family name was originally spelled as "Moll," and was the prominent spelling during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The German pronunciation of Moll sounded very similar to Mull, therefore many early English speakers who recorded most of the official written documents would write the name as Mull, which became the prominent spelling by the mid nineteenth century. It is also interesting to note that many of the Moll/Mull ancestors used the same given name for their children, as seen by the countless number of John, Henry, Peter, Jacob and Joseph's.

 

*** Note: "Mull Families of North Carolina: A History and Genealogy," by B. Rondal Mull and Mable M. Mull also mention that Peter Moll served as High Sheriff in 1779, the same year that it is also reported that John Bowman served as Sheriff.

 

**** Papers found in the Mull family file at the Burke County Library state that Peter Mull born 1736-1805 was first married to a Barbara Kline, followed by a second marriage to Barbare/a Carpenter or Zimmerman on the 23rd of February 1789.